Author Topic: SLS General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 344621 times)

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1440 on: 04/20/2018 04:40 AM »
Even better: link. There's no law against linking.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2018 04:40 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline catdlr

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1441 on: 04/20/2018 05:22 AM »
Even better: link. There's no law against linking.

What Link?
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Offline AnalogMan

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1442 on: 04/20/2018 09:34 AM »
To narrow the search: could you tell me the thread name? :)

Here is the L2 thread link:

SHUTTLE DERIVED HEAVY-LIFT LAUNCH VEHICLE ASSESSMENT - 726 Pages - June, 10
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22048.0

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1443 on: 04/20/2018 10:57 AM »
To narrow the search: could you tell me the thread name? :)

Here is the L2 thread link:

SHUTTLE DERIVED HEAVY-LIFT LAUNCH VEHICLE ASSESSMENT - 726 Pages - June, 10
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22048.0
Bless your socks, Bro! :)
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Offline woods170

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1444 on: 04/20/2018 11:16 AM »
I lost that huge, 700 page document in a massive hard drive crash I had three years ago.

The key word here is: back-up.

I've been using this for back-up purposes (to an external NAS) for years.

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1445 on: 04/20/2018 01:26 PM »
I lost that huge, 700 page document in a massive hard drive crash I had three years ago.

The key word here is: back-up.

I've been using this for back-up purposes (to an external NAS) for years.
Actually; I managed to retrieve about 70% percent of the files and some were already backed up - just not all. Several folders of downloaded space exploration files were lost and they included the huge, missing Sidemount HLV file. Funnily enough - I only discovered it was missing a few weeks back. In those days, I couldn't afford multiple external hard drives. Now everything is triple-backed up! But let us not digress...
« Last Edit: 04/20/2018 01:30 PM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline kraisee

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1446 on: 04/20/2018 05:29 PM »
If I were a betting man (I'm not), I would bet that nobody at these levels is planning for anything in the post-SLS world yet. A bit of "head in the sand" going on here, IMHO. But te reality can't be put off much longer. 12-18 months, at most, I think. It would be interesting to see a group of, say, contractors who are aware that the writing is on the wall already, perhaps get together (as far as is legally allowable) and prepare a plan that would be ready to be switched-in at the appropriate moment.

Do I understand correctly that you are predicting the demise of SLS by the end of 2019?  What is the writing on the wall that you see?

Few in this forum are less impressed with SLS than I, but I do not sense its impending doom.  From the perspective of someone who wants to see NASA accomplish something in space, the SLS program is clearly in deep trouble, with its perennial delays and concomitant cost growth.  But Congress seems quite happy with it, often funding it in excess of administration requests.  The only criticism in recent years has come from a couple of members who are retiring.  If SLS continues to flounder technically and fiscally, it will eventually be canned, but I do no reason to expect that to even begin before 2021 (i.e., after the next two elections).

A recession might change the picture, because with the government now choosing to run big deficits even when the economy is growing, the fiscal picture will probably look very scary if a downturn hits.  But aside from that, I'm not seeing the writing on the wall.  What am I missing?

I think that the realization that it is going to fail will take hold within the corridors of power within 12-18 months. How long it will take to change course... Who knows. Based on the Ares-SLS transition, I'd expect at least another year or two of change-over activities before anything is officially on a new path. That's why I think the first flight will probably take place - a last gasp before closure, similar to Ares-IX.

As for what writings on the wall, there are two really big ones that I see coming down the pipe, either of which is big enough to convince the power-brokers that SLS isn't worthwhile any longer.

1) The dreadful flight rate. There is far too long a gap between each of the first 2, 3 even 4 missions being considered (each later one being even less convincing, at least to me). When a launcher is measured in years between flights instead of flights per year, that's a very bad thing, because the press will be all over how much each flight costs. ~18 months worth of cost per flight will make SLS by far the most expensive launcher in history, far more costly than the equivalent of a modern Saturn-V (5 flights in 6 years at ~$2bn/year expenditure will equate to around $2.4bn per flight). Add to that the amount of money burned in development to get to the first flight (~$16bn to December 2019), probably more as I expect more delays) and it will look quite obscene, especially because...

2) BFR/BFS will start flying in a similar time frame +/- a year-ish. SLS is going to take an enormous bashing when the press really grasps the fact that a popular commercial company has launched a bigger, better and far more capable launcher for less than 20% of the cost, and in half the time. SLS and Orion are both going to look pretty stupid at that point. I predict that the political support will dry up then, because they won't want to be associated with such a clear and public example of government waste.

Ross.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2018 05:39 PM by kraisee »
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Offline TaurusLittrow

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1447 on: 04/21/2018 12:18 PM »
Can anyone -- and that includes you, NASA -- explain the flight schedule of SLS?

Prior to Congress' recent largess, EM-1 was supposed to fly uncrewed followed 3 long years later by EM-2, and the 1B configuration featuring the EUS. There was supposed to be a 3-year hiatus between EM-1 and EM-2 because of the need to modify the launch platform to accommodate the SLS 1B. Lord knows that span would have stretched into 4 or 5 or 7 or 10 years. Or never. Who knows.

BUT, with the funds to build an SLS 1B-capable launch platform, NASA can continue to launch the SLS 1 block with the ICPS upper stage. The launch cadence and EM-2 could be moved up accordingly, which means humans to BEO sooner IF the ICPS is human rated. More time and money.

BUT, then we have Center Director Todd May telling NASA employees about new plans for the first four SLS flights to be on identical rockets (Block 1 presumably) without crew. The first launch would be in 2021 and the first launch with a crew (Block 1B, I guess) would be EM-5 in mid-2020s.

BUT, then the SLS 1 configuration doesn't allow co-manifesting of "gateway" components, so either a dedicated SLS flight, or more likely, a commercial rocket (NG, FH, BFR?) will be used to launch the "gateway."

I mean, whose on first? More money for a dedicated 1B mobile platform could wind up delaying crewed SLS missions. 

Am I missing something? Or is NASA HQ just as confused as I am?

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1448 on: 04/21/2018 12:27 PM »
I'm hoping that Jim Bridenstine can shake things up a little and restore some clarity and sanity to the schedule. Otherwise; this whole project is as cluster-eFFed as it appears to be :'(
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1449 on: 04/21/2018 03:01 PM »
I'm hoping that Jim Bridenstine can shake things up a little and restore some clarity and sanity to the schedule. Otherwise; this whole project is as cluster-eFFed as it appears to be :'(

Regardless what condition you think the SLS program is in, as a member of the committee that oversees NASA in the House of Representatives Bridenstine would share credit and/or blame for where the program is at today.

So I wouldn't expect him to push for major changes...
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Online RonM

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1450 on: 04/21/2018 03:12 PM »
Can anyone -- and that includes you, NASA -- explain the flight schedule of SLS?

Prior to Congress' recent largess, EM-1 was supposed to fly uncrewed followed 3 long years later by EM-2, and the 1B configuration featuring the EUS. There was supposed to be a 3-year hiatus between EM-1 and EM-2 because of the need to modify the launch platform to accommodate the SLS 1B. Lord knows that span would have stretched into 4 or 5 or 7 or 10 years. Or never. Who knows.

BUT, with the funds to build an SLS 1B-capable launch platform, NASA can continue to launch the SLS 1 block with the ICPS upper stage. The launch cadence and EM-2 could be moved up accordingly, which means humans to BEO sooner IF the ICPS is human rated. More time and money.

BUT, then we have Center Director Todd May telling NASA employees about new plans for the first four SLS flights to be on identical rockets (Block 1 presumably) without crew. The first launch would be in 2021 and the first launch with a crew (Block 1B, I guess) would be EM-5 in mid-2020s.

BUT, then the SLS 1 configuration doesn't allow co-manifesting of "gateway" components, so either a dedicated SLS flight, or more likely, a commercial rocket (NG, FH, BFR?) will be used to launch the "gateway."

I mean, whose on first? More money for a dedicated 1B mobile platform could wind up delaying crewed SLS missions. 

Am I missing something? Or is NASA HQ just as confused as I am?

The unexpected funding for a second ML has opened up many options. It will take NASA some time to sort out what to do. This is a positive thing, not bad.

Just because NASA could launch four Block 1 before Block 1B doesn't mean they have to. My guess would be EM-1 and one or two cargo flights. Get a head start on LOP-G with SLS or commercial launchers before the first crewed flight.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1451 on: 04/21/2018 04:39 PM »
This is where all those features postponed 'to save money' become anchors holding the program from moving ahead.
Things like ECLSS, EUS, software, human ratings, etc. should have been ready for EM-1 or soon after but they were postponed and the money used elsewhere.  Being simply unable to fly crew until 2025-2026 is a direct result of these management decisions to de-scope or postpone, decisions that will cost vastly more than was 'saved' earlier. 

The program will not go faster with a second mobile launcher... slow is baked in.  Costly is too.
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1452 on: 04/21/2018 04:48 PM »
I'm hoping that Jim Bridenstine can shake things up a little and restore some clarity and sanity to the schedule. Otherwise; this whole project is as cluster-eFFed as it appears to be :'(
That's the job of the oversight committee in congress. I haven't heard much complaining from them about the program. All I ever seem to hear is hype...
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Offline AncientU

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1453 on: 04/21/2018 05:14 PM »
I'm hoping that Jim Bridenstine can shake things up a little and restore some clarity and sanity to the schedule. Otherwise; this whole project is as cluster-eFFed as it appears to be :'(
That's the job of the oversight committee in congress. I haven't heard much complaining from them about the program. All I ever seem to hear is hype...

That's NASA's job, not some oversight committee's or Congress'.
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Online RonM

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1454 on: 04/21/2018 05:38 PM »
This is where all those features postponed 'to save money' become anchors holding the program from moving ahead.
Things like ECLSS, EUS, software, human ratings, etc. should have been ready for EM-1 or soon after but they were postponed and the money used elsewhere.  Being simply unable to fly crew until 2025-2026 is a direct result of these management decisions to de-scope or postpone, decisions that will cost vastly more than was 'saved' earlier. 

The program will not go faster with a second mobile launcher... slow is baked in.  Costly is too.

Agreed. If Congress had funded an upper stage from day one, there wouldn't be a need for a lot of this foolishness.

Offline Proponent

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1455 on: 04/21/2018 05:51 PM »
I think that the realization that it is going to fail will take hold within the corridors of power within 12-18 months. How long it will take to change course... Who knows. Based on the Ares-SLS transition, I'd expect at least another year or two of change-over activities before anything is officially on a new path. That's why I think the first flight will probably take place - a last gasp before closure, similar to Ares-IX.

As for what writings on the wall, there are two really big ones that I see coming down the pipe, either of which is big enough to convince the power-brokers that SLS isn't worthwhile any longer.

1) The dreadful flight rate....

2) BFR/BFS will start flying in a similar time frame +/- a year-ish. SLS is going to take an enormous bashing when the press really grasps the fact that a popular commercial company has launched a bigger, better and far more capable launcher for less than 20% of the cost, and in half the time....

The ridiculously low flight rate has been evident to anyone who bothered to pay attention since 2011.  It's possible that Congress will start to notice in the next year or two, but, absent other factors, I'm not holding my breath.

I agree the BFR/BFS is likely to force a re-examination of Orion/SLS.  But, applying the usual SpaceX time-dilation factor, I'm not holding my breath for that one either.  (As so often when it comes to NASA's HSF efforts, I hope I'm wrong.)  In a somewhat longer run, this does seem the best hope.  Musk may ironically save NASA from itself and Congress.


Offline Proponent

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1456 on: 04/21/2018 05:56 PM »
Agreed. If Congress had funded an upper stage from day one, there wouldn't be a need for a lot of this foolishness.

It's always the case the SLS could be made useful, if still highly inefficient, with more money.  But I hardly see how just enough more money to fund an upper stage really helps -- there is still the problem of sensible payloads.

At least the related nightmare scenario of SLS never getting an upper stage and flying only to LEO has never come to pass.
« Last Edit: 04/21/2018 06:01 PM by Proponent »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1457 on: 04/21/2018 06:55 PM »
My hope is they actually forget about EUS for a while and just launch everything on iCPS. EUS looks a heck of a lot like Centaur V/ACES anyway, which ULA is going to build anyway.
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Offline TaurusLittrow

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1458 on: 04/21/2018 07:25 PM »
My hope is they actually forget about EUS for a while and just launch everything on iCPS. EUS looks a heck of a lot like Centaur V/ACES anyway, which ULA is going to build anyway.

ICPS would have to be human-rated, with additional costs and time delays. Unless more funds are in the offing, the launch cadence won't increase and human rating SLS Block 1 will be postponed.

Cargo SLS 1 flights, including LOP-G elements, look increasingly like a waste of resources given the commercial LVs coming online.

I'd ask how NASA got into this mess, but I know the answer.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1459 on: 04/21/2018 08:24 PM »
I'm hoping that Jim Bridenstine can shake things up a little and restore some clarity and sanity to the schedule. Otherwise; this whole project is as cluster-eFFed as it appears to be :'(
That's the job of the oversight committee in congress. I haven't heard much complaining from them about the program. All I ever seem to hear is hype...

That's NASA's job, not some oversight committee's or Congress'.
It is the job of congressional oversight to ask why a program is behind schedule and costing the "the taxpayers's money" with no return...  It is the head of the agency job to answer. Why do you think they have these committees?
« Last Edit: 04/21/2018 08:25 PM by Rocket Science »
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